By: Jean Hanff Korelitz
This seemed like such a fascinating story to me: marriage counselor discovers that (SHOCKER!) her own marriage is not the perfect fantasy she had conjured up in her head. I love books that have an unlikable main character. And the protagonist in You Should Have Known, was nothing if not unlikable. Grace, an about to be published marriage therapist finds herself drowning in the misdeeds of her husband. But I couldn’t help thinking, “well, that’s what you get,” throughout most of the story. Of course, no one DESERVES to be wedded to a terrible person, but, if I’m really being honest, I enjoyed watching her suffer. In the agonizingly drawn out part one of the book, she comes to life as a snobby, middle upper class New Yorker, who is obviously better than most other people. She laments her “gaudy” jewelry collection, even though I’m pretty sure you could have bought my house for the cost of her “ugly” pieces. I know we are supposed to suspend reality when we read; but I really wanted her to get her due.
Maybe that was the point of the book? That anyone can be brought down by the actions of others? I don’t know because I was so lost in the flashbacks and “cut scenes.” It was dangerously similar to watching an episode of Family Guy. There are so many half baked relationships that no one character seems to be fully fleshed out. More than anything I wanted to hear more about the husband and his family, but they were only briefly addressed and then dismissed towards the very end of the book. The writing is not bad, and, in many places, the scenery becomes very real. You are exactly where Grace is, and you are experiencing her torment. But I liked it. Guess that makes me more like Grace’s husband than I’d like to admit?